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Driving under the influence of herbal remedies

The driving laws around herbal remedies such as Rescue Remedy, CBD oils, gummies and capsules, and how to stay safe on the road when taking them.
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Herbal remedies such as Rescue Remedy, CBD oils, gummies and capsules have become increasingly popular in recent years. These products have been known to help soothe anxiety and nerves, so one may think they are an ideal supplement for potentially nervous drivers on the road, particularly new, younger drivers. If you are unsure about whether you can use these legal supplements whilst driving, this article will help clear things up for you. 

What is CBD?

If you are not aware of CBD, it is the generic name used for products created using cannabidiol, a component found in hemp plants- a cousin of the marijuana plant. So, this places CBD as a form of medical marijuana, but don’t worry, the effects are not quite the same. Marijuana plants contain large amounts of THC, the chemical that induces the effects of marijuana, whereas hemp plants contain a minimal amount of THC and are made up more of cannabidiol (CBD). CBD affects our cell-signalling system (the endocannabinoid system), which has been known to help regulate functions such as sleep, immune response, and pain. This explains CBD’s potentially wide-ranging application and growing popularity.

What is Rescue Remedy?

A type of Bach Flower Remedy, Rescue Remedy contains a blend of five flowers: cherry plum, clematis, impatiens, rock rose and star-of-Bethlehem. The flowers are placed in water and infused via a heat source, the flowers are then discarded, and the liquid is preserved (usually with alcohol), diluted, and stored in vials. The effect of this product is like that of CBD. It’s reported to soothe pains, help with sleep, calms nerves and even improves focus.

Can you drive on CBD?

It is obvious why there is some confusion around this, as of course it is illegal to drive if under the influence of marijuana. However, CBD is not intoxicating and therefore should not impact your ability to drive. It is important to note that CBD usually does contain some THC, however CBD manufacturers will aim to keep the amount of THC to 1mg or less in one container, that’s 0.2%- which is less than the legal amount to consume.

This does not mean you SHOULD drive on CBD products, however; cannabinoids can react differently depending upon a person’s body chemistry. If you have taken other drugs recently or think you may have consumed too much CBD and are feeling particularly relaxed, it may be best to avoid driving. CBD can create a sense of drowsiness in some users, so if you fall under this category then it is not recommended to get behind the wheel. Some CBD products can have stronger effects, depending on the dose or product. Although these brands are legal, they can leave you in a state that is not fit to drive.

Also, if you have bought CBD that is not an officially licenced UK product, then you could be consuming something with higher THC levels, which could lead to stronger effects, and could raise your THC levels over the legal limit.  

This comes down to you making an informed decision here, if you have consumed the recommended amount from your product’s packaging, it should be legal for you to drive, but we do not recommend it.

Can you drive on Rescue Remedy?

One big difference between CBD and Rescue Remedy is that Rescue Remedy contains alcohol, which is of course something drivers should avoid. These days, Rescue Remedy has an alcohol percentage of 27%, a bottle consists of around 20-30 doses. This means one dose of Rescue Remedy is about 10ml of beer. So, although it is an alcoholic medicine, you are only consuming the equivalent to a couple of teaspoons of your average beer when you take a dose, meaning that it is totally legal and safe to drive using this substance, unless you were already on the edge of being over the limit. If this is something you are worried about, or if you are on medication that doesn’t allow alcohol, there are alcohol-free versions of this product available.

Will the Police stop you on these substances?

If a police officer has deemed that you are driving dangerously and called you over to stop, it is unlikely that they will be suspicious of CBD or Rescue Remedy. However, it is possible that they may ask if you have consumed any substances such as these. 

If this goes to a drug screening test, you should be clear if you have consumed the recommended amount due to the amount of THC and alcohol in each of these products. Appropriate consumption of CBD and driving should not land you in trouble as you should not exceed the 2mg legal limit of THC allowed in your bloodstream, but if you are particularly concerned about this, there are CBD products available that contain no THC. Similarly with Rescue Remedy, there is a small alcohol percentage in a dose of the product that you should not exceed the legal alcohol limit.

Officers may also conduct a field impairment assessment instead of a drugs screening, this test will allow them to judge whether you are fit to drive. If you are using these products, there is a chance you may not be in the right state to drive, CBD can cause drowsiness and fatigue which could lead to poor reaction times, which is not safe for driving. Even though these products are legal, they could potentially leave you in a state that is unsafe for roads. A first offence for this can be a 12-month driving ban, void your car insurance and a fine of up to £5000. The penalties get more extreme for second- and third-time offences, it can even lead to prison time.

Joel Kempson, car insurance expert, says:

“Although substances like CBD and Rescue Remedy are legal and some users swear by their effects, they can lead to danger on the road. It is technically legal to drive when using the suggested dosage, but we do not recommend it. 

“These substances can lead to slower reaction times, which can put you and other drivers in danger. The potential consequences are not worth it, whether it leads to some sort of accident or if it leads to the police issuing a penalty. We think it is best to use these substances when you are not needed to operate a vehicle.”